A former Triple J Unearthed feature artist, the Sydney artist took flight earlier this month when they were selected to take part in APRA AMCOS’s SongHubs summit at RAK Studio in London, for an intensive, three-day-long songwriting collaboration camp with leading U.K. writers, producers and A&Rs.
Also along for this once-in-a-lifetime experience was Winston Surfshirt, JEFFE, and The Dawn of May, plus a handful of U.K.-based Aussies, including electro-soul duo Two Another (Eliot Porter and Angus Campbell), Mali-Koa and Jess Chalker.
A Victorian schoolhouse converted into a cutting-edge recording facility, RAK has welcomed many of the greatest names in music over the years, including Adele, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Midnight Oil, and the Arctic Monkeys.
Since 2018, APRA AMCOS provides access to desk space and writing rooms at RAK to members and artist managers passing through (the organisation’s U.K./Europe member relations rep Adam Townsend is based at the studio).
imbi the girl captured the experience for a photo diary, which TIO exclusively shares below.
The Day Before. SYD > LDN
Throughout all the sitting and waiting and boring plane-time feelings, I was brought back to this underlying feeling of pure bliss. It was this sort of, full body anticipation and excitement for what was to come, and deep knowing that this was where I was meant to be, what I was meant to be experiencing, and that however the next few days turned out, they would be exactly as they were meant to be.
On the first day we met in the rec room for some pleasant and slightly awkward banter as well as wholesome introductions. We had some time to get to know each other and since I was there v early (classic) I even had time to wash up my keep cup. We got a run down from Adam Townsend (APRA’s Member Relations Rep based in London) and were then separated into our writing groups for the day. I had the pleasure of working with John Foyle and JEFFE in this first session. I went in with a song I’d previously written and was blown away by the talent I was surrounded by in that room. Getting a feel for how I could combat the imposter syndrome and just be my authentic creative self in this kind of industry setting was challenging and SUPER rewarding. I left feeling even more excited for the days ahead than I had felt when I arrived.
The second day was honestly, really tricky. I started off the day with that same elated feeling, and then about half way through the day I hit a bit of a wall. I was put with two wonderful, talented, experienced creatives (Thomas Rawle and Valentina) and wanted to push myself to try and experiment with different ways of collaboration which I think made me feel really insecure and out of sorts. It was really cool to be able to experience that and experiment with people who are so successful at what they do. Being given the time and patience to have that experience is something I really ~really~ value. That being said, at the time I kind of just had a bit of a cry and took myself outside for a while to decompress. When I started feeling better we finished the session off and still managed to finish up a demo that’s completely different to anything I would’ve written alone and really pushed me as an artist. We all had dinner together that night too which was wholesome as heck but by that point I was pretty emotionally & physically drained so I headed back to the hotel after we ate and tried to get some sleep.
The third day was the day jet lag really started to hit me. I woke up super tired (having not slept very much) but determined to make the most out of the final day of camp. It took the help of 3 diet cokes (which is a big deal for me), the patience and kindness of the fellow creatives in the room and a couple’ painkillers to gather my energy. Lucky for me I was put with Angus Campbell and JEFFE who both created the space I needed to get into the zone and helped me sustain creative momentum throughout the day. Working with these folx was so much fun, we played around and experimented with a bunch of different sounds, coming out of the session with two demos (one significantly more polished than the other hahaha) and a wholesome day under our belts.
It was really rewarding to see myself pull it together like that and still get my creative juices flowing despite the exhaustion and fear of insecurity from the previous day. We had a little listening party in the evening where we listened to snippets from every track created on camp and it was a very humbling experience. The music everyone made was really special, to be included in such a talented group of musicians and to feel valued and appreciated despite my (quite different) sound was affirming and humbling. I still can’t get over some of the talent I shared a creative space with.
Everyone I had the privilege to work with was a dream, the studio was a dream, the whole experience was a dreamy, blissful, blur. I am truly grateful to have worked with so many talented folx. THANK U APRA AMCOS, I LOVE U <3
The Day After
The day after camp ended, I had until 5pm to wonder around London and see some old friends. I ended up going through Camden markets to get some presents for the family, and spent a good few hours hanging with an old pal of mine. She even ended up whipping out her guitar and we had a little jam in her garden which was reeeeaaally nice. I’d forgotten how special it is to just sing and jam for the sake of it instead of for some kind of productivity. I’d forgotten the power of my voice without all the production and distraction behind it. All in all, it was a really special trip. I learnt a lot about myself and the industry. I was reminded of my limitations and also reminded of my capabilities. I was affirmed and geld and felt valued in that space and that was really really special for me. I am eternally grateful for being the opportunity to experience that trip.